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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Mahogany Head Grenade

Return to the Point of Departure

Review by Gary Hill

Each track here, taken by itself, is quite good. It’s when you try to sit down and really listen to this that it can be problematic. I mean, there’s just too much of a monolithic texture here. In general, these instrumentals are essentially backdrops for guitar soloing. As I said, each number works well. It just gets old by the time the ride is over.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2014  Volume 1 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Return to the Point of Departure

Atmosphere and harder rocking space elements open this with clips from some movie playing. Around the one minute mark this fires out into hard edged progressive rock that makes me think of Dream Theater quite a bit. There are some hints of Van Halen in the mix as this continues. Joe Satriani mixed with Yngwie Malmsteen and the other two references serve as the central musical tenets of this piece. The only vocals are more movie bits.

Trouble for Trouble
Another movie bit (as a loop) starts this. Then a bass groove kicks in that’s very cool. From there we get a new jam that has elements in common with the previous number. It’s almost more like some kind of hard edged space rock, though. That is until around the one minute mark where some seriously metallic elements emerge to drive it in new directions. This is quite a cool jam with some great twists and turns. I love some of the Middle Eastern sounds that emerge at times.
Vinedresser
This one continues the same basic themes, but it’s a lot more purely melodic. It’s certainly closer to the fusion end of the spectrum. That keeps it from feeling redundant or repetitive.
Etude War Machine
While this isn’t a big change of pace by any means, it manages to avoid feeling too repetitive. That said, the formula is beginning to wear a bit thin by this point.
Venetian Bricks
One of the heaviest things here, this is just not different enough to really stand out. You can really only take so much guitar soloing dominated instrumental music. By this point it’s all starting to sound the same. So, that said, this is a good tune. It’s just not anything that manages to differentiate itself from the rest.
 
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